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SUBJECT: SW FL-Bonita Beach: Grouper-fest!

Submitted by Captain Dave Hanson ( from FLORIDA on

“No oil—No spoil
Our Beaches are Clean—Our Waters Pristine”

Wednesday morning, 11/3, I headed offshore just ahead of an approaching cold-front for the last day in the next several that would allow offshore fishing. Seas were a little sloppy at two-to-three feet about nineteen miles west of New Pass, where I fished in 45 feet with long-time customer Bill Story and his friends, Bernie, Marvin, Jim and Larry. We used live shrimp to catch some good table-fare, including twenty nice whitebone porgies, fourteen grunts, each about two pounds, a 14-inch yellowtail snapper and a 16-inch hogfish. We released lots of red grouper shorts.

A strong cold-front came through on Thursday,11/4 with rain most of the day, leading into a weekend of high winds and rough seas. It was still just calming down by Monday, when long-time customers Mike and Leah Connealy were scheduled for an offshore trip, so we deferred that to Wednesday, 11/10. We fished in 45 feet out of New Pass with live shrimp, mostly interested in dinner-fish. The Connealys bagged five keeper mangrove snapper, all about 13 inches, and seven 14-inch whitebone porgies. We released lots of smaller mangrove snapper, triggerfish-shorts, porkfish and red and gag grouper shorts, to 19 inches and 21 inches, respectively.

The next time I fished was Monday, 11/15, when I headed out of New Pass to between 38 and 48 feet of water with Steve and Jolissa Spitzer. We caught a trio of keeper gag grouper that got progressively bigger, with one 24 inches, one 27 inches and one 30 inches. The two larger ones bit blue runners, while the smaller one ate a live shrimp. We also caught a half dozen nice mangrove snapper to 16 inches, and we kept two 14-inch whitebone porgies, out of the fifteen we caught. We also released lots of smaller gag and red grouper, mangrove snapper, triggerfish, and an 80-pound goliath grouper, which bit a blue runner.


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